4000 students graduate & four new Honorary Doctors named

Highlights from UniSA’s 2017 graduations.

More than 4000 UniSA students have entered new chapters in their lives, graduating at one of 10 ceremonies held in Adelaide and Mount Gambier in March and April.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said UniSA’s graduates have been well equipped with the skills needed for the changing economy, including critical thinking and problem solving; and the ability to evaluate issues and information.

“As jobs evolve, the smart machines that automate them are actually freeing people like you to be the future problem solvers, the entrepreneurs, the creative thinkers and the social intelligence experts in tomorrow’s knowledge economy,” Prof Lloyd told graduates.

He said the next chapter would be full of possibility but also responsibility.

“So when we say you’ve been given the gift of an education, you have an obligation to use that gift to make yourself a better person, and in the process make the world a better place,” he said.

Graduations took place across nine ceremonies in late March at Adelaide Convention Centre and a ceremony at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in Mount Gambier earlier this month. A ceremony will also be held in Whyalla on 5 May.

See photos from the graduations on UniSA’s alumni network.

Five honorary awards were presented at the ceremonies, recognising exceptional achievement and acknowledging significant and eminent contributions to scholarship, professional practice and service to the University and its community.

The 2017 recipients are featured below:

Thomas Keneally

Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik

Janet Holmes à Court

Professor Richard Head

Dr Ian Gould

Thomas Keneally

Thomas KeneallyOne of Australia’s most loved and respected authors, Thomas Keneally is best known for his Booker Prize-winning novel, Schindler’s Ark (the basis of the Oscar-winning film, Schindler’s List).

Keneally is one of Australia’s most prolific writers of both fiction and non-fiction, with more than 50 works to his credit, ranging from historical novels to biographical works.

His novels The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest and Confederates were all short-listed for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers for the Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award.

Keneally gave the occasional address to hundreds of graduates on 29 March, sharing his experiences from priest-in-training to school teacher, academic, and then novelist.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says it is a great privilege to welcome Thomas Keneally into the UniSA community.

“Thomas is one Australia’s most successful and prolific writers – an author who has helped to define and depict Australia across time and changing culture,” Prof Lloyd says.

“He has also looked outwards and written defining works set beyond Australian shores and experience – including immensely powerful works, such as Schindler’s Ark.

“He has published modern and historical novels, biographies, dramas, opinion pieces and children’s stories - using his formidable talents to explore and inform readers of all ages and tastes.

“His love of writing, of storytelling and of using literature to shed light on human character, in all of its extremes, is a great gift to all who love books.

“That he has made such a vibrant, successful career from his writing is an inspiration for all young people who love literature and have a passion for writing.”

Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO

Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AOProfessor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO was awarded an honorary doctorate marking her lifetime commitment to Aboriginal education and advancement, and her special place in the foundation of the University of South Australia, as a leader in Aboriginal histories and cultures and teacher education.

A Djaru woman from Northern Australia, Prof Bin-Sallik was the first Aborigine to graduate as a nurse in Darwin and she spent 17 years in the health care sector, working in Darwin and remote locations such as Lajamanu, before pursuing an academic career.

She was the first Aboriginal Australian to graduate with a Doctorate in Education from Harvard.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Prof Bin-Sallik holds a special place in the history of the University and in the history of Aboriginal academic achievement in Australia.

“In an era when the choices for Aboriginal women were both limited and bleak, MaryAnn aspired for knowledge,” Prof Lloyd says.

“But not only did she get an education, she also guided and championed many hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete their education, both through her work at UniSA and other universities, her research, and her advocacy on national councils and boards.”

Prof Bin-Sallik started her academic career at the lowest lecturing scale and reached the level of Pro Vice Chancellor.

In 2016 she was named NAIDOC’s Female Elder of the year and this year she was awarded an Order of Australia in recognition of her passion and commitment to ensuring there are more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to access education and succeed.

Delighted with the acknowledgement, Prof Bin-Sallik says she wants to continue to promote education as a path to fulfilment and self-determination.

“Education opens up the world for people, it brings understanding, innovation and empowerment,” Prof Bin-Sallik says.

“That is something we should want for all children and it is certainly something for which I will continue to strive for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“If my career proves anything, it is that the opportunity to pursue education is one of the greatest gifts.”

Janet Holmes à Court

Janet Holmes à CourtJanet Holmes à Court was recognised for her outstanding contribution to the arts community, cultural organisations and to business – both in Australia and internationally.

For many decades Holmes à Court has generously supported cultural and arts organisations ranging across theatre, art, music, urban design and architecture.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Holmes à Court has been a strong promoter of public ethics in corporate life and her own philanthropy has inspired other business people to invest in the arts.

“Over the years Janet has served on many boards and generously supported the arts and other causes including research into cancer and diabetes.

“Her contribution to the community and to business has been recognised with many awards and honours including a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and being named one of the National Trust of Australia's '100 Living Treasures'.

“Among her many achievements, Janet has long been a supporter of Australian and Aboriginal art, and has built an internationally renowned collection that documents many areas of Australian cultural significance.”

Today, the Holmes à Court Art Collection consists of more than 4000 registered artworks. Where possible, the collection is available for curatorial research and displayed in galleries around Australia through a program of lending.

Following the sudden death of her husband Robert Holmes à Court – Australia's first billionaire – in 1990, Janet took over management of the family company – Heytesbury Pty Ltd – and successfully built up the group’s cattle, horse breeding, vineyards, wine and engineering concerns.

Over the years Holmes à Court has served on many board including Chairman of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. She was a founding patron and chairman of Western Australia's Black Swan Theatre Company (now the State Theatre Company) and served as chair of Stoll Moss Theatres, where she refurbished the majority of London's theatres resulting in her being named British Business Woman of the Year in 1995.

Professor Richard Head

Professor Richard HeadAcknowledging a long career working to unpack the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, colorectal cancer and hypertension and in research leadership, the University made Professor Richard Head an Emeritus Professor in March.

Among his many leadership roles, Prof Head was appointed to steer UniSA’s Sansom Institute for Health Research in 2012, and in 2013 was appointed to the University’s senior leadership team as Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President, Research and Innovation.

Later he took on the important role of Foundation Director of UniSA’s innovative new Future Industries Institute.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Prof Head is an outstanding researcher but also a creative thinker.

“Across his 40-year career in health science, Richard has been a champion for the importance of creative, collaborative research to tackle some of the big health challenges, from cancer to diabetes,” Prof Lloyd says.

“In his time as director of the CSIRO’s Preventative Health Flagship he was responsible for driving a national research program focussed on early detection and intervention in chronic diseases and for integrating CSIRO’s fundamental and applied research in human health to support greater innovation.

“Richard brings together his personal knowledge of pharmacology research with his broader experience of government and international research, to build research environments that are outcomes-focused.

“He has been an asset to UniSA and will continue to be an asset to health science in Australia for years to come.”

Prof Head was Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at West Virginia University Medical Centre, a Research Fellow with the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.

He has served on a host of advisory committees, including the Scientific Advisory Council for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the Australian e‐Health Research Centre Board, and key international and national boards including Research Australia, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and the International Ageing Consortia.

He was awarded the prestigious CSIRO Lifetime Achievement Medal in 2012.

Dr Ian Gould AM

Dr Ian Gould AMFormer Chancellor of the University of South Australia, Dr Ian Gould AM was acknowledged for his enduring commitment to the University and his leadership across mining, health and science.

He was Chancellor of the University for eight years, playing a vital role in one of the University’s greatest periods of growth.

A geologist by profession, Dr Gould was a leader across the Australian minerals industry in a 40-year career, working for Rio Tinto and the Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia Group and then as group managing director for Normandy Mining.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the University, like many other organisations in the community, has benefited enormously from his contributions and support.

“Ian’s commitment to service, both at UniSA but also across the community – whether that be on the councils of organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service or St Andrew’s Hospital or in advocating for science education and broader access to education – he has been indefatigable,” Prof Lloyd says.

“That great commitment to service was acknowledged in June 2011 when he was named a Member of the Order of Australia.

“He has always been generous in sharing his time and expertise with students and he has extended that personal contribution with a financial one, establishing Ian Gould Experimental Science Grant for Honours and PhD students to undertake hands-on research and to engage in work that is experimental and at the edge of discovery.”

Dr Gould was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and Engineering in 2007 and in the same year awarded the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Medal.

He served as chair of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Institute of Marine Science and St Andrew’s Hospital.

Dr Gould retired from his role as Chancellor of UniSA in December 2015.